ALTA: VivaColombia justifies A320 choice

Rio de Janeiro
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VivaColombia will start operations with a fleet of three Airbus A320-200s, and aims to operate five of the aircraft by end-2012.

Its A320s will be powered by CFM International CFM56 engines. VivaColombia's chief executive Frederik Jacobsen said VivaColombia will grow its fleet to about 20 aircraft in six years, taking the same growth strategy as Mexican low-cost carrier VivaAerobus, which shares common shareholders with the airline.

VivaAerobus operates Boeing 737s, which led many to expect VivaColombia to go with the 737, but Jacobsen said the A320 was chosen because it offered the lowest cost per available seat kilometre.

"There is also a very good pool of inventory for the A320 now and in the coming years," he said. The airline is in the midst of finalising leases for its first aircraft, and aims to finish that in the coming weeks. VivaColombia's A320 fleet will have an average age of between seven and nine years.

The airline will configure its A320s with 180 seats in a single class. While it plans to lease its aircraft for now, VivaColombia is not ruling out purchasing its own aircraft in the future.

In three to five years, the carrier could carry out a joint request for proposals with VivaAerobus, said Jacobsen. "We are set on the A320 for the next five years, and we will operate only one aircraft type. But we will not rule out making a switch," he added.